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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:36 pm 
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Location: Gobekli Tepe
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I am upgrading to an enclosed car trailer. All of my wants and needs are ironed out now except for the frame material. With all the reading I've done I'm still undecided, so I wanted to see if anyone here has some input specific to our kind of use.

Steel frame or aluminum?

Trailer will be an 8.5 X 24 foot enclosed 10K trailer. While the rest of the trailer remains rated for 10K I'm upgrading to 14K eight lug axles with no drop. I have no idea what my rig weights but it has to be around 5000 to 5500 pounds'ish. There will be basic living quarters up front of my own construction, but nothing too crazy.

I am leaning toward a steel frame for all of it's pros. That said, I will be towing this trailer with either a 1993 Dodge D250 club cab LB truck or a 1991 Dodge W250 Ox Cart, both with VE cummins engines. Though they are both very different trucks neither of them are powerful heavy modern trucks. They are both very much 3/4 ton trucks, but I love them and so they're what I have to work with. Now...

The trailer is being ordered and built to my specs. With the 12 inches of added height the empty weight will come in just under 4000 pounds. It's getting 7000" axles so I'm not worried about being overloaded. I am worried about my trucks being able to haul and stop this pig safely. With a trailer this size, going to an all aluminum frame cuts 1000" pounds off of it's empty weight! Yeah, I really like that idea.

Not too concerned with the extra cost of an aluminum frame. I just want to get the right trailer for my needs. Trailer will be used once a month at least all year-round in all conditions. Is an aluminum frame a bad idea?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:06 pm 
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Location: Bonney Lake, WA
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I would definitely go with an aluminum frame. I would also make sure to get "straight " axles vs the standard 4" drop axles.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:57 pm 
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Location: Reno, NV
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In my travels I've heard so many horror stories about aluminum frames I'm not sure I could own one. The people that own them for show cars, pavement race cars and things that never go offroad do well but in our sport it's a tossup. Seems the cracks and breaks always happen in the rear portion of the frame after time spent going down dirt roads and across uneven ground. YMMV.

What are you looking at having built? Becker? ATC?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:05 pm 
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Turns out, firewood DOES grow on trees!
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No drop on the axles. I was stoked to learn that was an option.

John90XJ wrote:
In my travels I've heard so many horror stories about aluminum frames I'm not sure I could own one. The people that own them for show cars, pavement race cars and things that never go offroad do well but in our sport it's a tossup. Seems the cracks and breaks always happen in the rear portion of the frame after time spent going down dirt roads and across uneven ground. YMMV.

What are you looking at having built? Becker? ATC?


And this is my primary concern. From everything I've been reading it seems like the only real downside to aluminum frames is fatigue leading to cracking. A steel frame is far more serviceable in the field than aluminum. The reason I quickly found myself ordering what I want instead of hunting for a deal on "close enough" is that they build these things for cars. 4" drop axles and a couple inches taller than me inside was not going to cut it.

90% of what I've read comes from folks towing race cars to a track 6 times a year. Nice smooth roads just like you say. My trailer has lived a hard life so far with me. It visibly looks like I hate unscuffed jersey barriers or something. Who remembers the road up to Evans a few years ago? Regular monthly runs up potholed gravel roads through the winter are in this trailer's future.

The outfit is called Look Trailers in Montana. According to the internet Look was formed by some guys who left Haulmark after it was sold a few years ago. Unless I'm missing something they seem to be good quality trailers. I've been looking at trailers for a bit and the Look trailers seem to stand out to my untrained eye.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:20 am 
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I didn't even realize companies were making aluminum frame trailers for car hauling... seems underkill...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:26 am 
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dr drae wrote:
I didn't even realize companies were making aluminum frame trailers for car hauling... seems underkill...


Most of the high end stuff is. Intech and ATC are pretty much the top of the game.


https://www.rpmtrailersales.com/sc_imag ... 1-1000.jpg

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:17 am 
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Turns out, firewood DOES grow on trees!
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Location: Gobekli Tepe
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I've seen plenty of smaller open deck all aluminum trailers. It never occurred to me until recently they made big enclosed trailers with aluminum frames. The higher end units are nice but I want to keep it simple. I don't need super nice cabinets and the ability to sleep eight people. From the outset I wanted to build my own living quarters. Basically a more refined version of what I have in the back of my truck now. So all I needed was a well built trailer. A blank canvass to build in.

It is still getting 30amp power package with inverter, led flood lights outside, power awning, etc. Stuff that makes sense to have done by the factory. I'll build the bed frame and sink/ranger unit myself and install them upon delivery. This is getting ordered today after work.

It could take up to 20 weeks to build! I'm hoping there is an option to expedite in some way.

Thanks for the help guys, especially H. I was hoping either you or Larry would chime in.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:24 am 
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I'd do goose neck over bumper pull.. your old trucks will handle the load better.. steel would work best for the Elbe and Evans roads, and you can repair or remodel cheaper and more efficiently. What I don't understand is why you feel you need some custom built enclosed trailer? There's millions of new enclosed trailers for sale.. or is it 20 weeks to get power and lights added to it?? The work and play trailers are nice and have power and lights and most likely have what your looking for ....


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:15 pm 
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Location: Bonney Lake, WA
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My trailer is aluminum! Image

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